Bitter Sixteen - Stefan Mohamed

By Natasha Price | Engine House

The purpose of a book trailer is to draw in a new potential audience, perhaps those who don’t have access to the book or are outside of a bookstore, at home browsing the internet or around digital public displays.

We give the audience a taster, just enough to decide if the book could be of interest, but leave them wanting more. Using visuals that compliment the existing marketing materials and also including quotes and review ratings to establish the quality of the title in the viewer’s mind all add to an effective marketing campaign.

Our first step, after reading the book in its entirety, is to identify the best themes to represent with the visuals. Bitter Sixteen has such a strong opening and gets straight into the heart of the story so the very opening provided most of our content alongside a glimpse of a scene later from the book to tease how the story will play out.

We also had a call with the author to check if there were any main elements to avoid, in this instance we weren’t to show the main character’s face, which we totally agreed with as we feel it’s best to let the reader create the character images in their own minds.

The story of the trailer was to be about school, exams, life altering decisions, physical changes, all building as we approach midnight on the eve of his 16th birthday.

Splitting headaches and hallucinations turn over and over in his mind, images of dead trees drawn in charcoal, school timetables, the room spins as he lays on his bed. We translated all of this into three main shots, the clock by the bed showing how close we are to midnight, images shuffling with his face in the foreground, and the spinning bed sprawl as the shuffling gathers pace, the clock flashes midnight and the image shakes with increasing intensity before the screen explodes into pure white light and we see him released, floating freely and silently over a dark London skyline.

Bitter Sixteen - Stefan Mohamed - Salt Publishing from Engine House on Vimeo.